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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  February 6, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm EST

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it's all over. >> all right. thanks for joining us. "nightly news" is next. on the broadcast tonight, the crisis in syria spins out of control. tonight, the american embassy is shut down while the world struggles to respond. family horror. a father, a missing mother and now the unthinkable. two little boys are gone and the question, how did it come to this? breaking her silence. in an explosive interview, a former white house intern who claims she had an affair with jfk. speaking out the first time with meredith vieira. halftime in america. the super bowl ad that had people talking today. an american icon in an ad for cars that covered a lot more than that. "nightly news" begins now. good evening. the united states has decided to captions paid for by nbc-universal television
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good evening. the united states has decided to close its embassy and pull its people out of syria because it's increasingly clear the syrian government of president assad has decided to escalate the crackdown on the citizens' uprising there. the u.n. security council tried to do something about it this past weekend, but they were blocked by two no votes from syria's friends russia and china. now the world tries to figure out what to do while it's increasingly clear what's going on inside syria. we begin our coverage with our own ayman mohyeldin who just emerged from syria. >> reporter: mortars raining down on the city of homs with rocket and artillery fire. recovering dead bodies has become too dangerous for residents, who say government snipers shoot to kill anyone who dares to step out no place is safe. not even this make-shift clinic where people seek refuge and doctors struggle to treat the injured.
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it, too, was hit. >> all we want is help. we don't care how. we don't care if an army comes in. we don't care if the u.n. bombards syria to rescue us. we just want help. >> reporter: but there is no help. a united nations security council resolution calling on president assad to hand over power and begin a transition with a democratically elected government was vetoed by russia and china in the face of international condemnation. >> the international community must protect the syrian people from this abhorrent brutality. >> this is a doomed regime as well as a murdering regime. >> reporter: russia's foreign minister fired back calling comments indecent and bordering hysterics. russia is a long-time ally and provider of arms to the assad regime. in syria, angry protestors burned russia and chinese flags. >> it seems like the syrian government is treating the security council vetoes as a green light to step up the violence.
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it's a license to kill. >> reporter: that's how many are explaining the sharp escalation of violence in homs. the city has been under siege for days. relentless bombardment pushed the death toll to more than 300. amateur footage shows what the people are up against. eye witnesses report syrian tanks and soldiers are moving to other cities, as well, a sign similar attacks in other parts of the country could be imminent. brian, 11 months into it, many are questioning how much longer the syrian military will continue to fight the protestors. the opposition force fighting the assad regime says more defectors are joining its ranks and it is looking for countries willing to supply it with more weapons. an indication that this is going to get a lot more violent before it ends. brian? >> ayman mohyeldin with us from cairo. thanks. more on what the world does now. with us for that our chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell.
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in this one city, this is being called a bloody crackdown, an absolute massacre. we are forced to cover it through grainy independent video, which takes away some of the vividness, but no less urgent. >> reporter: it is urgent, it is horrific. the u.s. is so alarmed. rarely have we heard the kind of anger, not couched in any diplomatic language from susan rice, the u.n. ambassador on saturday in a rare session. she was furious. she said she was disgusted. she repeated that today in our interview. she said she is disgusted that russia is blocking this, and is arming syria. the assad regime. propping up what she said, is a brutal dictator on its last legs. china is following russia, but russia is the main player. i think you'll see she believes is more civil war, that this will lead to more violence and now the u.s. and others have to end up arming the opposition quietly. they will not intervene. you're not going to see another libya. if they did intervene, iran and others in the neighborhood get
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involved, it would be a proxy war with russia. that is not going to happen. >> this could be a long haul yet to come. >> reporter: a long, brutal, bloody haul. >> andrea mitchell, thank you for that. in his exclusive interview before the super bowl just yesterday, matt lauer asked president obama about syria. our political director and chief white house correspondent chuck todd is with us with more on that. chuck, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. the president walks that fine line between candidate and city sitting president. that came through loud and clear in the super bowl sitdown with matt lauer. >> reporter: the president was measured in what he said about syria. >> would you consider military action with our allies without u.n. approval, especially considering china and russia vetoed this latest resolution at the u.n.? >> it is very important for us to resolve this without recourse to outside military intervention. you're seeing more and more people inside of syria recognizing that they need to turn a chapter.
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>> reporter: mr. obama left all options open when it comes to iran and acknowledged israel might act alone. >> i don't think that israel has made a decision on what they need to do. i think they, like us, believe that iran has to stand down on its nuclear weapons program. >> reporter: election year politics wasn't far from the president's mind. he argued that attack campaigns won't work. >> i think the american people have the capacity to cut through the negative arguments to see, does somebody have an affirmative argument? it's not enough just to say the other guy's a bum. >> reporter: just 12 days in office, his first super bowl sunday interview, president obama had this to say to matt lauer about turning around the economy. >> if i don't have this done in three years, then there is going to be a one-term proposition. >> reporter: as to his response this sunday? >> do you deserve a second term? >> i deserve a second term, but we're not done. >> reporter: with mitt romney winning nevada, the republican race moves to colorado and minnesota, where rick santorum hopes to break out. all the candidates are hitting
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the obama administration's decision to require all health care plans to cover birth control. catholic organizations hoped for an exemption since the rule runs counter to the church's doctrine. today mitt romney's campaign launched a drive to appeal the decision, and newt gingrich sounded off. >> every time you turn around, secular government is closing in on and shrinking the right of religious liberty in america. >> reporter: the white house continued to defend the decision today, but jay carney did leave open this idea there could be compromises on how it's implemented from church to church or organization to organization, brian. >> chuck todd at the white house for us tonight. thanks. now to a terribly sad story out of washington state. a father has taken his own life along with the lives of his two little boys. in a raging house fire, he appears to have set, the bizarre and tragic end to a story that started when his wife, the boys' mother, disappeared. nbc's miguel almaguer reports
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from graham, washington, outside seattle. >> reporter: investigators call the raging fire a double murder suicide. inside the home, three bodies. josh powell and his two young boys. powell was denied custody of his children last week. >> found two five-gallon cans of gas. one was with the bodies. >> reporter: police say on sunday he slammed the door on a social worker who brought the children for a supervised visit. minutes before the fire, powell wrote a chilling three-word e-mail to his lawyer. it read, "i'm sorry. good-bye." >> this was not a tragedy. this was a horrible murder of two little kids. >> reporter: powell had been in a bitter custody battle with his missing wife's parents chuck and judy cox. today, they spoke of the loss. >> we know that the children are with their mother. and they're safe. >> reporter: in a recent interview, powell continued to deny any involvement in his wife susan's disappearance. >> i could never hurt susan or
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myons. and everyone who knows me knows that. >> reporter: susan powell vanished in december 2009, the same night josh said he took their children camping in freezing temperatures. utah police named him a person of interest, but never charged him with the crime. susan's body has never been recovered. while police investigate the murder/suicide, the cox family says one of the boys was finally talking about the night his mom vanished, saying, quote, mommy was in the trunk of the car the night they went camping. when mom and dad left the car, mom disappeared." investigators are still building their case. >> law enforcement was getting more evidence on him. the children were beginning to talk. as they did, evidently, he got very nervous. >> reporter: tonight, a community grieves for two boys whose short lives had already been filled with such incredible loss. miguel almaguer, nbc news,
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graham, washington. when "nightly news" continues, the intern and president john f. kennedy, a story she never wanted out. a story she kept secret until now. and living history, an extraordinary group of americans who helped save the world leaving behind their stories. you wouldn't want your doctor doing your job. so why are you doing hers? only your doctor can determine if your persistent heartburn is actually something more serious... like acid reflux disease. over time, stomach acid can damage the lining of your esophagus. for many, prescription nexium not only provides 24-hour heartburn relief, but can also help heal acid related erosions in the lining of your esophagus. talk to your doctor about the risk for osteoporosis-related bone fractures and low magnesium levels with long-term use of nexium. possible side effects include headache, diarrhea and abdominal pain. other serious stomach conditions may still exist. let your doctor do her job, and you do yours. ask if nexium is right for you.
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50 years ago a 19-year-old student at wheaton college in massachusetts arrived in washington for an internship in the white house press office. now all these years later, mimi alford says her experience in the executive mansion included an 18-month long affair with then president john f. kennedy. she had planned never to speak of it until her story ended up in a prominent historian's biography of jfk a few years back. now she's chosen to talk in a new book out this week called "once upon a secret." meredith vieira has the story in an exclusive interview.
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>> most mornings when i woke up, i thought, i don't want to get up and write this book. i want to hide under the covers. >> reporter: what made you then get out from under the covers? >> i think when you keep a secret, and when you keep silent about something, you do it because you think it's keeping you safe, but in fact, it's deadly. >> reporter: the secret, claims alford, started in the summer of 1962, when the 19-year-old debutante from a prominent new jersey family began what she says was an 18-month affair with president john f. kennedy. the revelation was first revealed in 2003 when historian robert dallek wrote in his biography of jfk, that a small, slender, beautiful white house intern was rumored to be among the president's many paramours. at the time, mimi declined to offer details. she issued a short statement, then disappeared. now she is talking, and says her first close encounter with the president took place in this indoor heated pool at the white house. the invitation came from the
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president's aide dave powers, who asked her and two other staffers to join us for a swim. never mentioning that the "us" included jfk. you find yourself four days into your internship at the white house and you're in the swimming pool with the president of the united states. >> it didn't seem unnatural just because everybody was friendly and i went back to work after. >> reporter: you dried off and went back. nobody blinked about it? >> no one said anything. >> reporter: hours later she said she was invited back to the white house residence and taken on a private tour of some of the rooms by the president, where she lost her virginity to him in jackie kennedy's room. >> reporter: you wrote, "i wouldn't describe what happened that night as making love, but i wouldn't call it as nonconsensual either. he maneuvered me swiftly and unexpectedly and with authority and strength, short of screaming, i doubt i could have done anything to thwart his intentions." it almost makes it sounds like you did feel some what overpowered. >> i think overpowered in the sense he was the president. he was this unbelievably
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handsome man, 45 years old. not overpowered physically that someone grabbed me and made me do something that i wasn't really willing to do, because i really think i was willing to do it. >> and you can see meredith vieira's full interview with mimi alford this week on "rock center" at our new time. that's wednesday night at 9:00/8:00 central. when "nightly news" continues tonight, the record that was set during the game last night. the two-minute slice of the super bowl that got a lot of attention today. n today. [ male announcer ] lately, there's been a seismic shift in what passes for common sense. used to be we socked money away and expected it to grow. then the world changed... and the common sense of retirement planning became anything but common. fortunately, td ameritrade's investment consultants can help you build a plan that fits your life.
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[ teakettle whistles ] [ male announcer ] totally free. feels good. taxact federal return. totally free. go to and feel the free. a little bird told me about a band... ♪ an old man shared some fish stories... ♪ oooh, my turn. ♪ she was in paris, but we talked for hours... everyone else buzzed about the band. there's a wireless mind inside all of us. so, where to next? ♪ well, if you watched last night's game here on this nbc station, you played a part in setting a new record. the super bowl was the most watched television program in american history. nielsen estimates 111.3 million of us watched as giants defeated
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the patriots in an epic battle in indianapolis. giants' quarterback eli manning playing in the house his big brother peyton built, was named super bowl mvp. the pats' quarterback tom brady took the loss hard. his wife supermodel giselle bundchen made things worse when she was overheard to utter, "my husband can't throw the ball and catch it, too." a knock on patriots' receivers. commercials got a lot of attention, including ferris bueller. jerry seinfeld and various cute dogs and the apocalypse and detroit. a big, sweeping and impactful ad for chrysler is getting a lot of talk today. whether it will sell cars is one thing. it did get people talking about bailouts and american pride. our report from nbc's john yang. >> touchdown, hernandez! >> reporter: the super bowl ad that seemed to capture america's attention didn't have
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a cute dog or flashy animation. just a gravelly voice and a weathered face. >> people are out of work and they're hurting. they're all wondering what they are going to do to make a comeback. >> reporter: it was clint eastwood's ode to the u.s. auto industry and its workers in a two-minute chrysler spot comparing detroit's recent struggles with the nation's troubled economy. >> we can't be knocked out with one punch. we'll get right back up again. when we do the world will hear the roar of our engines. >> reporter: it took off on the internet, a hot item on youtube and one of the top five google searches. why did it connect so effectively? >> what chrysler brilliantly captured here was not only the mood in the country, but aspirational mood in this country. >> reporter: it wasn't the first time chrysler has taken this approach. during last year's super bowl, the car maker used rapper eminem to rally detroit's spirits. >> our second half is about to begin. >> reporter: the eastwood ad was designed to sell cars, but in this highly-charged political season, some complained it was
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auto bailout and tantamount for an ad for president obama's re-election. a conservative commentator tweeted, did i just see clint eastwood fronting an auto bailout ad? it seems to put eastwood at odds with his own words when he said, we shouldn't be bailing out the banks and car companies." at the white house, the press secretary jay carney said they had nothing to do with it, but welcomed the message. >> he made the decisions he made and believes they are the right decisions. >> reporter: the ad seemed to have viewers rooted for a second-half comeback worthy of eli manning and the new york giants. john yang, nbc news, chicago. up next tonight, america's greatest generation. everybody played a role in the titanic struggle to save the world. wo ttd#: 1-800-345-2550 ttd#: 1-800-345-2550 let's talk about the cookie-cutter retirement advice ttd#: 1-800-345-2550 you get at some places. ttd#: 1-800-345-2550 they say you have to do this, have that, invest here ttd#: 1-800-345-2550 ttd#: 1-800-345-2550 you know what? ttd#: 1-800-345-2550 you can't create a retirement plan based on
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an increasing number of retirement communities are doing it in book form. including a place called kendal at hanover in hanover, new hampshire. 56 residents put their stories into a book. they tell the story of world war ii at home and away, and some of them share it with us. >> d-day, june 6, 1944. >> reporter: long ago, he was a young man, brave, scared, proud to be a part of a fighting force on a foreign shore trying to save the world. clint gardner was an army first lieutenant on omaha beach. he's now 89. >> suddenly i heard a sharp explosion just in front of me. my head snapped back as if hit by a sledgehammer. and the curtain of warm blood poured over my forehead, closing my eyes. >> reporter: his helmet survives from that day, so did he, though his skull was nearly split apart.
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his deepest wounds came later in the war, when he witnessed the liberation of the concentration camp. >> we were instantly surrounded by this swarm of skeletons draped in yellowing flesh. we saw hundreds of bodies piled outside the crematorium. i had been changed by this experience. >> home was changing, too. as a young newly wed, mary jenkins found herself on an air force base in kansas. >> it was 1944 when i, as a new englander and brand-new bride, found myself in the heart of kansas. our one goal was to win this war and it was a period that was quite remarkable to live through because -- and it was uplifting, this feeling of unity. >> reporter: everyone experienced the war differently, and yet the most unique story in
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the book may be that of kesa nota. her family spent world war ii in an internment camp. she tells her father's story. >> i went to a bus depot as ordered. army soldiers herded us into buses. they took us to the santa anita race track and told us to get off. there were guard towers and bared wire around the site we were given one horse stall with horse manure on the walls. it smelled. when i heard the story from my father, i said, did you ever give up hope and he looked at me as if that was the strangest question. no, we never gave up hope, he said. never. >> reporter: robert christie came home from the war a decorated combat veteran, an experience he translated to powerful verse. >> i am not a hunter, i am a killer. i hunted people, women, kids, old people, enemy soldiers, who knows? they never could lay it on me, 2,000 yards away, right? i did it not because i enjoyed doing it, but it was what i did.
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>> he became a physician when he came home and never fully got over his scars from over there. >> i'm emotional right now just talking about it. >> reporter: from one place, 56 stories, 56 different memories of the same war. >> certain kinds of stories you kind of know in your gut aren't just individual stories. there is something more to them that makes them important beyond an individual or even an individual family. >> if these things are not put down on paper very shortly, they're not going to get down on paper. all of us are in our 80s and 90s and time is getting short. >> reporter: our thanks to the authors, the 56 seniors in hanover, new hampshire, and all the rest who have left their stories of an era that changed the world. that is our broadcast on a monday night. thank you for being here with us as we start off a new week. i'm brian williams. we hope to see you back here tomorrow evening. good night.
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